Deadly Charades: Double Lives, Extortion and the Suicide of a Respected Professor

A respected A&M prof with secrets to hide commits suicide and implicates his alleged blackmailer in a case where no one was really who he or she seemed to be.

Deadly Charades: Double Lives, Extortion and the Suicide of a Respected Professor
At 10:29 a.m. on January 8, Texas A&M Communications Professor Jim Aune stood on the roof of a campus parking garage and texted the man who had been extorting him for weeks. It was the last thing he would ever do.

"Killing myself now And u will be prosecuted for black mail," Aune said, according to federal court records. Then Aune stepped off the roof and fell six stories, landing on his back. The fall didn't immediately kill him; he died at a hospital later that day.

Aune, a 59-year-old married father of two, believed he had texted the father of a 16-year-old girl he'd been chatting with online after first meeting her on Gay.com. Aune never actually met or spoke on the phone with the girl who called herself Karen McCall. There was no way he could have, because she didn't exist.

Before jumping to his death, A&M professor Jim Aune warned his alleged blackmailer that he would be prosecuted.
Courtesy of Miriam Aune
Before jumping to his death, A&M professor Jim Aune warned his alleged blackmailer that he would be prosecuted.
Miriam Aune says she told her husband that he was being scammed, but he didn't believe her.
Miriam Aune says she told her husband that he was being scammed, but he didn't believe her.

Federal authorities say that both "Karen McCall" and her father were actually a 38-year-old New Orleans-area man named Daniel Timothy Duplaisir, a self-employed house painter with a habit of extorting men who liked to carry on sexually explicit online relationships with underage girls.

According to authorities, the scam worked like this: Once the mark got in deep enough — by, say, sending a picture of his penis, as Aune did — Duplaisir would play the role of the outraged father who had just discovered the online affair. Duplaisir would then demand money, ostensibly to cover therapy for the traumatized teen, in lieu of calling the police. Duplaisir allegedly demanded $5,000 from Aune.

Duplaisir did not believe Aune's suicide text, according to records of their texts that day.

In the first 23 minutes after Aune hit the sidewalk, Duplaisir allegedly texted multiple times, saying, "Never black mailed you I gave you a chance to make it right. You lied to me too many times. Answer the phone punk."

After not hearing from Aune, a frustrated Duplaisir allegedly left a series of increasingly bitter, threatening voice mails, including this one:

"Let me tell you, motherfucker...you sick old bastard...I told you I was going to call the cops. You begged me not to fucking do it...You started this shit, motherfucker; don't try and turn it around and make it look like I fucking blackmailed you, stupid son of a bitch..."

Four days later, Duplaisir posted a comment on one of his Facebook pages: "damn I need a new line of work sometimes."

This particular page bore the name "Danielle Mosvoni" and featured a profile picture of Duplaisir in a sheer blouse with a plunging neckline. In other pics, Duplaisir has unbottoned the blouse, revealing a burgundy bra supporting ample breasts. His lips are painted with pink gloss, and his ears are adorned with half-dollar-size earrings; red hair curls up just above his shoulders. He's smiling.

According to Aune's widow, Miriam, Aune had met Duplaisir as Mosvoni on Gay.com months earlier; after Duplaisir extracted enough information from Aune, he allegedly contacted Aune as Karen. Once Aune was hooked, Duplaisir moved the conversations to a social networking site called Mocospace.com. (It's unclear why Aune would have even been interested in an underage girl in the first place, when, according to Miriam, he was only interested in corresponding with transgender men. It's also unclear why a teenage girl would have been on a social networking site for gay males. Court records do not explain precisely how Aune met "Karen," and officials have declined to comment. Furthermore, authorities have not disclosed what photographs Duplaisir used for the Karen persona.)

When a Bryan FBI agent and an A&M detective traced the texts and e-mails to Duplaisir, and he appeared in court on extortion charges in March, he no longer looked like Danielle Mosvoni. But that's how he signed a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes on May 13.

"I have begged for help for years, but you all have ignored me every time," he wrote. "Stop ignoring me. It's unfair to society to ignore my problems, and when I get out, I'm the same or worse. My brain is broken."

It appears that both Duplaisir and Aune were living double lives, and when they found each other, it was just a matter of time before they'd wreck each other's life.
_____________________

On Halloween Day in 2012, Duplaisir walked into a Lowe's in Metairie, Louisiana, and charged $114.04 to a Green Dot prepaid debit card.

Special Agent Nikki Allen, with the Bryan office of the FBI, and Donnie Ohana, a detective with the A&M Police Department, traced a payment made to Duplaisir's card by Aune the following year, according to Allen's affidavit. (An FBI spokesperson declined to comment for this story, referring the Houston Press to federal prosecutors, who do not comment on pending cases.)

Aune's phone was in his pocket, undamaged, when he hit the ground. Before investigators even spoke with his wife, they were able to check his recent texts, and they also found a printout of e-mails between Aune and Karen in Aune's office. In one of the e-mails, Aune explained that he had heard from her father and had to cut off contact.

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26 comments
alchemicalflower
alchemicalflower

I couldn't keep myself from commenting on this article because I am the tranny that Jim had an affair with. He actually told me about this blackmailing business shortly before he killed himself. Jim visited me in austin around 2007 but I had been chatting with him for ages. I believe I first met him in 2004 or so when I was about 22 years old. it took him forever to tell me he had two autistic kids and claimed that Miriam was his ex wife and had multiple personality disorder. 

Jim thought he had lost his sex drive forever after he got the prostate cancer operation, so around that time he decided he was done with me. I'm convinced there was no one with whom Jim was fully honest, and while this blackmail shenenigan was the straw that broke the camel's back, there were many more underlying issues. Jim was extremely depressed, avoidant and a liar to the core. To say he was not a happy man is a tremendous understatement. Its like he didn't want to believe he was the victim of a scam so that he could do what he had probably contemplated many times before.

I found out he committed suicide about an hour ago, and I still don't even know how I feel about it. my first reaction was not grief but rather an inexplicable sense of dissociation from reality.

I have several conversations with Jim archived in my email. I feel compelled to read every email exchange I ever had with him and to think about it in this new light that his suicide has shone. 

rachael.kilgore
rachael.kilgore

Being transgendered myself, I read the article with a certain sadness.  TG or not, there is no excuse for Duplaisir's actions.  It is really sad that most news about TGs is negative.  Please understand that wearing women's clothing doesn't make a man anymore of a criminal than it does a woman, well not anymore since the laws have changed.

warrenmart
warrenmart

Doesn't seem like there are any innocent victims in this--would-be pedophiles I can find no sympathy for,  if anything "blackmailera' is doing a good service bringing these freaks out in the open.

Meredith Rogers
Meredith Rogers

I had Aune as a professor and it pains me to see this story progress.

Angie
Angie

If Duplaisir was living with "lisa's" relatives, how did she come to "live with him off and on?" 

I guess there was one last text you didn't want, or Miriam didn't want to disclose? That wasn't very clear.

Do you realize you mention at the beginning that he died at the hospital later that day, and at the end of the article, you say he died 40 minutes later?

These were things I didn't quite understand.  I hope Miriam recovers from this painful experience...

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand

He should have killed the blackmailer, not himself.

Frankly I couldn't read beyond the first page. I love Ayn Rand heroes, not homosexual zeroes.

addaddiesfacebook
addaddiesfacebook

Again the Houston Press just loves to Kill Trees with these long overdrawn articles about subjects that really don't mean a whole lot to the average busy Houstonian.

Ok I grabbed a typical article from the Atlantic  - 1200 words

 Your "Charades" article ran 4600 word, which is  to the length of a maxed scientific research paper.

Melanie Pena
Melanie Pena

Wow. Unbelievable. Well written through all the twists.

Danielle Stillman-Diederich
Danielle Stillman-Diederich

This article was really confusing because the term you need to use is "transgender woman" for MTF trans people. If the professor was looking for transgender men he would be talking to FTM trans people (women making a transition to male). This is in sore need of a correction.

Richard Tew
Richard Tew

Both of these guys are sick and deserve everything they get both here and the hereafter.

Bren Ke
Bren Ke

Oh my goodness! You went and committed Journalism again! :)

Basawat
Basawat

@warrenmart Or rather, people who are willing to go with people under the age of consent - Although a man who is attracted to adult women but chooses to go under the age of consent deliberately to get "inexperienced" and "pliant" teenage girls is quite despicable.


If such a man truly loved a girl that young they would wait until she turned 17 (state age of consent)


However, why would a supposed teenage girl hang out on gay.com (so maybe the professor was expecting somebody else other than who the person said she was?)? There may be more to this story?

Basawat
Basawat

@red.marcy.rand He may have been unable to access the blackmailer, and/or felt that killing the blackmailer would make him a victim

Basawat
Basawat

@Richard Tew The prof should have gotten treatment. He definitely had issues, but the blackmailer's decision to blackmail makes him way worse

 
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